Are you living a happy life? Are you enjoying your days? Are you doing the things you love to do? Are you feeling joy and passion in your daily life? These are good questions, aren't they?
It has become increasingly clear to me over the years that a crucial element in personal development and living a happy life is understanding who you really are and what makes you tick. If you don’t know who you are, how can you live a happy life? And if you say your life is happy right now, I might ask – a happy life for whom? How can you know who is living your happy life if you don’t know who you are?
Some people are living happy lives for their husbands. Some for their wives. Some for their children. Others are living happy lives for their parents. What about you? Whose happy life are you living? Is it your own or someone else’s?
The Basic Questions
The real question is how can you honor yourself and make good choices for yourself if you don’t even know who you are? How can you do it if you haven’t taken the time to sit down with yourself and find out what’s right for you? And if you don’t know what makes you tick, how can you take proper care of you?
You can only take care of yourself if you know yourself. You can only make good choices for yourself if you know yourself. You can only set limits if you know yourself.
But to know yourself you have to be able to answer basic questions like:
* What do you really like (not what you think you ‘should’ like or what other people think you ‘should’ like)
* What’s OK for you
* What’s not OK for you
* What makes you feel good
* What makes you feel uncomfortable
* What you find unacceptable
* Where your limits are
You can only find the answers to these questions by going inside and asking yourself humbly and honestly. Can you sit quietly with yourself and find out? And answer just for you. Again not for someone else—not for your wife, your husband, your boyfriend, your kids, your parents, or your friends.
Getting To Know You
I find the idea of getting to know one's self honestly and understanding the consequences of this honesty a truly fascinating thing to contemplate. And I've discovered it's also often a real challenge for many of us because so many of us are people pleasers and afraid of conflict.
These two modes of behavior make it very hard for anyone to look within and be honest with themselves. It makes it dangerous to truly know and acknowledge what we are really feeling about things because oh my God what if the way we are and the things we want lead to conflict? What if it is unacceptable to other people? What if the way we are doesn't please people? What if it upsets them? What if they disapprove? What if the things we want are wrong? What if…?
And on and on it goes... But when we explore these issues a bit more slowly, we find it often boils down to being unclear/confused about things like:
* Being a ‘people pleaser’
- Seeking the love and approval of others
- Believing you are being loving and kind by doing what other people want you to do
* Being afraid of disagreement / conflict
- Believing that people ‘should’ agree when they don’t (fighting reality)
- Believing conflict is bad or dangerous
- Not knowing how to be assertive and communicate clearly
* Having a lot of arbitrary ‘shoulds’
- Having uninvestigated codes of behavior
- Letting other people manipulate you with their uninvestigated codes of behavior"
Honoring Who You Really Are
As far as I can see, the job of becoming a kind, loving, respectful and free human being is about learning how to honor who one really is while managing one's relationships with our fellow human beings in a kind, respectful and assertive way. Be it family, friends or colleagues at work.
And this is indeed challenging for so many of us ... to find our way in terms of all this. It's an ongoing challenge ...
©2013, 2016 Barbara Berger. All Rights Reserved.
Are You Happy Now? 10 Ways to Live a Happy Life
by Barbara Berger.
About the Author
Barbara Berger has written over 15 self-empowerment books, including the international bestseller "The Road to Power / Fast Food for the Soul" (published in 30 languages), "Are You Happy Now? 10 Ways to Live a Happy Life" (more than 20 languages) and “The Awakening Human Being – A Guide to the Power of Mind”. American-born, Barbara now lives and works in Copenhagen, Denmark. In addition to her books, she offers private coaching sessions to individuals who wish to work intensely with her (in her office in Copenhagen or on Skype and telephone for people who live far away from Copenhagen). For more about Barbara Berger, see her Web site: www.beamteam.com